To begin, take your right hand and put it on the side of your left upper arm. Squeeze the muscle gently but firmly so that you can really feel the density and shape of your muscle…. Say something like, “This is my muscle. This is part of me. This is a deeper container for my feelings and my sensations.”

Next, you might move your awareness to your shoulders, squeezing them a few times, feeling the tension build as you squeeze and feeling the release as you let it go. Again find your own rhythm of squeezing each muscle and letting it go.

When you first try this exercise, you may need to apply more pressure to get the feeling, but the idea is to use just enough pressure to get a sense of your muscle. So, as you feel and squeeze those parts of your body, you are beginning to actually feel the container and the boundary of your feelings.

Remember to take as much time as you need to go over each part of your body in order to reacquaint yourself with it and how it is connected with every other part….

It may be beneficial to say to yourself the affirmations that we have gone over [“This is the palm of my hand; I feel the palm of my hand. It belongs to me; it’s part of my body.”] for each part of your body. Make your statements slowly and compassionately as you feel each muscle and how it’s connected to your whole body. You might even find it helpful to mention its function as you squeeze. For example, you might say, “This is my calf muscle; it helps me stand my ground; it helps me run quickly.”

Although a considerable amount of change may be experienced doing these exercises just one time, it is more likely that you will get the most benefit by repeating these exercises, progressing with more awareness and comfort over time. It will also help to do them in conjunction with the other exercises in this learning program.

In doing these exercises and building a sense of your body as your container, you will find a greater capacity to befriend some of the uncomfortable sensations and feelings you may have previously disconnected.

Peter A. Levine in Healing Trauma